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EDC Holds Show Cause Hearings, Subsidiary Boards Meet

A show cause hearing for two businesses before the Economic Development Commission (EDC) will be held at 9 a.m. on…

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Half a dozen young people, local artists and music producers have created a peace song for Carnival 2014. To read more about the song, click here.
 

 
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Three Sentenced to 10 Years Each for Robbery with Firearms

Chief District Court Judge Wilma A. Lewis on Monday sentenced three St. Croix men to 10 years in prison each for their roles in two armed robberies that took place in January 2013.

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2014-08-20 23:35:53
USVI Could be Almost Free of Fossil Fuels by the Year 2025

The Integrated Resource Plan can help move the USVI to an island state with a portfolio dominated by renewable energy resources by 2025.

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2014-08-20 15:40:08
V.I. GDP Shrank In 2013, Economy Still in Recession

The territory's economy shrank in 2013, indicating the territory remains mired in recession, with gross domestic product decreasing 5.4 percent to $3.79 billion last year, according to data released Tuesday.

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2014-08-20 00:44:30
Local news — St. Croix
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Former NASA Astronaut on St. John

Photo courtesy of Chang Diaz.
Photo courtesy of Chang Diaz.

From his native Costa Rica to space, former NASA astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz has seen a lot in his 62 years. He’s on St. John to serve as the keynote speaker at Gifft Hill School’s Thursday graduation, where daughter Liz Kinsella is the school’s upper school dean, but Diaz discussed myriad topics with the Source.

His biggest concern is what will happen to the earth he viewed from above during his seven space shuttle missions for NASA.

He said that with the population estimated to be 10 billion by mid-century, earth will have no room for growth. Diaz sees space as the place to look for the future.

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“The limits of the planet are quickly being reached. It’s a very bleak future if we don’t do something,” he said.

“There’s no way we can avoid expanding into space,” he said.

In addition to exploring space, he also scuba dives to see what’s below the surface.

“I have been seeing a great deterioration in the depths,” he said. “There’s a lot of trash in the ocean.”

Space exploration has changed since the astronaut first joined the program. He said that in those days, governments funded exploration, but today it’s private industry that’s leading the way.

“This is the wave of the future – working in orbit and on the moon,” Diaz said.

Speaking about what it was like to look at earth from above, he said it was the most beautiful thing he ever saw.

“It’s almost a religious experience,” he said.

Growing up in Costa Rica, Diaz, like many children around the world, was fascinated by early exploration of space.

“The launching of Sputnik was a call to action,” he said, referring to Russia’s 1954 launch of a satellite into orbit.

By the time Russia put the first man into space, Yuri Gagarin in 1961, he knew was charting his future.

Space became his dream but in order to realize it, he moved to the United States. He moved to Hartford, Conn., because distant relatives lived there and would give him a home. He learned English by repeating his senior year at Hartford High School and got a scholarship to the nearby University of Connecticut.

“That was the moment that opened the door to the American dream,” he said.

Diaz went on to get a doctorate in plasma physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

After getting his U.S. citizenship, he worked in private industry. In 1979, NASA announced it was looking for a new set of astronauts and Diaz applied. He was one of three out of 3,500 selected for the program. In 1980, he became an astronaut.

Diaz now owns Ad Astra Rocket Co., an advanced rocket technology company with operations in Texas and Costa Rica.

He said along the way he learned some important lessons.

“Keep trying, don’t give up, work hard, and believe in yourself,” he said.

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